I saw Ash the bookwormmuse do this tag the other day and I thought it looked super fun! I love coffee and I love books so let’s get started!
BLACK: NAME A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. This series can be kind of a hard sell for a number of reasons. To start, it’s super long and is infamous for containing six million characters (only a slight exaggeration). It’s also has a lot of adult themes and tons of violence. Like trigger warnings galore for these books: rape, violence, incest, torture, etc. Then there’s the fact that it’s been seven years since the latest book came out and the author is constantly pushing back the release date for the next in the series. Many die-hard fans are convinced that Martin will never finish the final two books.
With all that to consider it can be hard to imagine how anyone could get into these books but this is a ride or die fandom spanning all platforms. Tumblr is drowning in GOT moodboards and fanfiction, Reddit has two highly populated subreddits devoted to the series, there’s countless fanpages on Instagram (excluding the bookish accounts that post other books in addition to Thrones), and Youtube is a hotbed for discussion videos and fan theories. It’s not surprising considering how many plot lines and characters there are to discuss, and since the books aren’t over, it can be fun to speculate about what will happen to everyone.
Personally, I only have the first book under my belt and I’ve seen the entirety of the HBO adaptation twice. I do plan on catching up with the rest of the books but there is a part of me that worries I’m wasting my time if the series never gets finished anyway… Please, Almighty Martin, hear our plea, stop writing spin off novels and just write the books we’re begging you to finish.
PEPPERMINT MOCHA: NAME A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR IN THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF THE YEAR
Okay, I’m actually going to make a prediction here and say A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. It was released earlier this year and has been fairly popular since but I’m going to estimate that we’ll all be seeing a jump in posts and reviews for it come say… November. I myself bought the book upon its release and have been holding off on reading it for a more appropriate season, so I’ll be one of those review posters in the winter-time.
HOT CHOCOLATE: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?
The Poppy series or the Tales of Dimwood Forest by Avi got me into so much trouble as a kid! I was immediately drawn into the cover that conveys some horror and suspense as the bright yellow eyes of Ocax the owl bore into our sweet little field mouse Poppy.
I used to be obsessed with this series back in third grade, around the time when I started picking out books for myself as opposed to reading what my parents bought me. I remember so well (20 year old me is still scarred and shamed) reading Poppy under my desk at the start of the school day and not realizing the rest of my class had been standing for the pledge of allegiance and I was totally lost in this book.
Mrs. Frank called me out saying, “Olivia, would you care to join us?” All eyes were on me and my burning red face. Of course I stood and said the pledge but to myself I was thinking, uhh no, I’d much rather be reading right now.
DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: NAME A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH
Oh my God, Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. I was in highschool talking to a friend of mine during our free period when I saw he was carrying a book with a spooky cover. He began telling me a bit about it: our main character is an adult and going back through his childhood memories as he realizes some really sinister sh*t happened to him. I asked my friend, “So is the antagonist like a monster or a real person?” He wouldn’t tell me. He just kinda tossed the book to me and said I’d have to read it to find out. I wasn’t disappointed. Penpal is the only book I’ve ever read that genuinely terrified me and kept me up at night. Have I mentioned that Horror is one of my favorite genres? I don’t scare very easily and this book had me looking over my shoulder constantly and begging my brother and parents to not leave me at home alone. I was 16 or 17 when I read it.
Don’t be discouraged at the fact that this book started as chapters on Reddit’s Nosleep community. People hear that and immediately want to dismiss it because (and this is true) most stories on there are written by amateurs and it usually shows. Nosleep is fun but it’s not great for riveting storytelling by any means. HOWEVER, this story changed the game. You wouldn’t believe how many stories I’ve read on Nosleep in years since that take elements or plot twists that are clear rips from Penpal. The first chapter “Balloons” has been copied and redone countless times because its freaking amazing. Please don’t let its humble beginnings turn you off. This is a genuinely scary story well worth the time it takes to finish it.
STARBUCKS: NAME A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE
Sarah J. Maas must be so blown away by how successful she’s become. Like I remember hearing about how she first posted Throne of Glass (or what ever it started as) on fictionpress.com a site for amateur fiction writers that I was using at the time. Now she’s the author of two of the most popular YA series going right now besides Harry Potter.
I just finished the ACOTAR series minus ACOFAS earlier this year and while I don’t think the series is like God’s gift to the world, I enjoyed it a lot. I see those books EVERYWHERE.
I do see Throne of Glass all over the place too thought maybe just slightly less. From that series I’ve read The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass (twice), and Crown of Midnight. I do intend to finish the books at some point but I’ve heard that starting with Heir of Fire, the series turns completely on its head and that kinda worries me because I absolutely adored those first three books. I remember finishing Crown of Midnight and that final plot twist just had me like “wut…” so I bought Heir of Fire when it came out but it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years because that plot twist just made me want to take a nap as opposed to making me really excited to continue.
THAT HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: GIVE A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR A SHOUTOUT
JEREMY ROBERT JOHNSON DOES NOT GET AS MUCH LOVE AS HE DESERVES. Okay but seriously, his books have actually changed my life. They have shaped me as a human being and gotten me through the roughest years of my life.
His style is classified as Bizarro and if you’re confused it’s okay, just bear with me. Wikipedia puts it nice and succinctly in the first sentence of its entry “Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird, and entertaining works.” So it’s usually a mix of horror and scifi. It often contains sexual themes as well. Picture like a classic slasher movie with a bit more satire and social-awareness and that’s the genre we’re working with. I definitely don’t recommend any of this to kids or people who are easily triggered by mature themes.
Most Bizarro fiction is fun, short, and fairly disposable. Some Bizarro authors, however, use the medium to discuss some really hard hitting and important topics such as mental health, addiction, consumerism, and gun control. JRJ is one of these authors. He has spoken in a number of his books about his struggles with drug addiction and how writing has helped him to heal.
If you’re interested in trying out his stuff I suggest starting with his short story collections, in this order: Angeldust Apocalypse then We Live Inside You. From there I recommend trying out Skullcrack City and Extinction Journals. I would save Siren Promised and In the River for last since they have the most complex themes and are the most relatable and hard hitting.
OOPS! I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: NAME A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. I absolutely loved Chupeco’s debut novel, The Girl From the Well and The Bone Witch had both a gorgeous cover and an incredible synopsis. One could say my expectations were on the high side.
The descriptions in the book were gorgeous but that’s pretty much the only thing I loved about it. The lore was interesting but there just wasn’t enough of it. The blurb promises action, political intrigue, and a kingdom in turmoil but I don’t know where any of that stuff was besides in the super rushed ending that encompassed the last 50 or so pages.
You can read my full review of The Bone Witch here.
THE PERFECT BLEND: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT WAS ULTIMATELY SATISFYING
Can I say Daughter of Smoke and Bone again? I’m going to go with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I don’t want to talk too much about this book because I think you should just dive into it without any expectations. The ending is both bitter and sweet because our protagonist, Starr, has come a very long way since the beginning but she will be forever changed by the experiences she’s had. This book is super important and relevant and I highly recommend it to everyone.
GREEN TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL
Have you ever heard of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery? I hadn’t either until my junior year of highschool when we were tasked with writing a ten page essay on the human condition and I was stumped. My English teacher suggested I pick one of two books she thought I’d like: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I chose to read both and compare and contrast their themes in my essay. These two books simultaneously saved my life that year and solidified themselves as my all time favorites. Elegance has been bumped down a few on the list in the years since then but it still has a very special place in my heart and I’ll always cherish what it taught me.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is the story of two women who live in the same place but lead incredibly different lives. First is twelve year old Paloma living with her wealthy French family in a lavish apartment complex in Paris. Paloma is going to kill herself and set the apartment on fire but first she wants to work on her journal where she collects thoughts about all of the beautiful things (and not so beautiful things) she finds in the world. She hopes that maybe it will be enough to make her want to live. Downstairs, lives the concierge Renee, an old grouch of a woman who loathes these bourgeoisie families who look down on her. She enjoys the fine things in life like Tolstoy. Both of these women hide their true intelligence from the world and as time goes on their paths intersect and they have profound influences on each other.
This book isn’t for everyone. It can be like reading a philosphy textbook at times and even I came close to DNFing it about halfway through. I can’t explain to you how worth it was for me to finish it. I came away having a better understanding and appreciation for myself and the world at large.
CHAI TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES
They don’t have to be real places right? For this I’m going with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I’m only 66 pages in (out of 1100 or so…) but already there is so much lore! The world building here is immense and expertly crafted. The magic system is super cool and interesting and the characters are very likable so far! I can’t wait to dive back in and see where else the story takes me!
EARL GREY: NAME YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC
I have not read very many classics. I often have a hard time keeping up with dated writing styles and so more often than not I steer clear of them. There are a few that I’ve enjoyed over the years though. For one is Macbeth by Shakespeare. It’s a super cool story with characters that have clear influences on modern characters (Lady Macbeth is Cersei Lannister *cough cough*). If Not, Winter is a translation of poem fragments my Sappho and while it’s hard to glean meaning from most of them I find them very pretty.
My all time favorite classic though is The Crucible by Arthur Miller which I could argue (depending on my mood) is actually my favorite book of all time. I’v read it more times than any other book and I feel like I pick up on new stuff each time. There are some great lessons and social commentary in this play. John Proctor is one of my favorite literary characters ever and his line that goes, “I speak my own sins, I cannot judge another; I have no tongue for it,” is a favorite of mine. His whole speech at the end about his name makes me cry without fail every time.
Unfortunately I’m not sure who has done this tag before so if you read this and you want to do it, I tag you!! Send me the link to your post so I can read it, I’m super curious about other answers to these questions. As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. ❤